In addition to directly helping clients, we also provide volunteering opportunities to those in recovery as part of the healing process. One such client is Ellis, who currently volunteers with us in the Wild Goose.
I am a qualified chef and I used to work a lot, and I was a single mum with two kids. There was nobody to help me. I started struggling and my life started to fall apart with drink and drugs. When that happened I put my kids into care. They were better off without me. I couldn’t take care of myself let alone them. I gave up my job and became lonely. I got in with the wrong crowd. I was drinking all the time or doing drugs, or both. It helped with the pain and the guilt for what I did.
Sometimes I would come into the Goose in a state. This was a safe place. It was somewhere to get off the streets, to get food, to get warm, someone to talk to. Coming here meant I would eat, because I didn’t eat otherwise. If it wasn’t for coming to places like this, I wouldn’t have found out that there was help out there. If you speak to the staff, they have a knowledge of what help is available. The majority of the people who come to the Wild Goose are in the same boat. Looking for accommodation to get off the streets. And the staff would help you. I lived and worked on the streets as a prostitute for three years. I chose that life. I chose to drink and do drugs. I look back on it and I am not proud of it, but neither am I ashamed. Because it has made me the person that I am now. I was getting to the point when I couldn’t take it anymore when I met good friends and my partner. I wanted to change so when I became pregnant I got a lot of help to get clean.
That led me to access support with DHI (Developing Health & Independence) who encouraged me to volunteer at the Goose. It’s a step into paid work. Being here helps me in my recovery because it gives me a break from looking after my son, but also gives me experience to get a job. I’ve been out of work since 2009. At least when I do go for a job I will have a CV and references. I can say that I have been volunteering. My dream job is to be a chiropodist. I don’t judge the people who use this place. A lot of them are my friends. It’s good for them to see me behind the counter doing good. And it gives them a lot of inspiration as well. Some of them have said to me that I have encouraged them to get help. If I could do it then they could do it too. So that is nice to hear.
Boredom is key to relapse and going back into addiction. You spend all your time getting money to feed the drink and drugs. When you get clean you need something to do to fill that gap. It gives me purpose to get up and come here once a week. I enjoy it. I live with my partner now and my son. It’s coming up to three years me being clean.
One of my goals is to be reunited with my older children. I haven’t seen them in five years. If I can stay clean, then when my son and daughter come looking for me, I’ll be able face them. Make amends for my past. That’s what I don’t want to happen with the son that I have now. I am very determined to learn from my mistakes. I want to watch my son grow up.